Every once in a while, in an Earth barn floating in the void of space, a green bubble would appear.
Lapis started looking forward to them. She couldn’t help it. On this dark, desolate asteroid she’d parked the barn, it was the only thing that ever happened, really.
There was no electricity here, so none of the technology worked, and Lapis didn’t know enough to build a generator. There wasn’t enough of an atmosphere for any instruments to produce music. None of the stars were close enough to produce an effective calendar of any kind. Everything was static, still.
But there were the bubbles. Bright, and green, and appearing, Lapis could only assume, regularly.
Peridot was nothing if not methodical.
It had taken Lapis some time to work up the courage to read the first one, but after that, she popped each one instantly, poring over the messages they contained.
They hurt to read.
‘I miss you.’
Peridot only included those exact words a few times, but the meaning was there in each one, regardless. She wrote about how Pumpkin was doing, and how the veggie head loved living by the beach, getting to get pushed around by the ocean's waves. Peridot catalogued the scents and compounds of all the different bottled chemicals in Steven’s bathroom and described them at length. She made detailed reports about the Earth’s constantly shifting weather, and how she hypothesised it was affecting the growth of her new garden. She sent drawings and photographs of her new meep morps, with commentary about how said visual representations became meep morps in their own right, see how CLEVER she was, and Lapis couldn’t help but smirk.
Lapis carefully piled each report up, and stored them inside a large tool box, where they'd be safe.
‘I wish I could see the originals,’ Lapis would write back, if she had any way of sending messages herself.
She shook her head. It didn’t matter if she wanted to see or not. She wanted to not die.
Things were better here. They had to be.
She lay down on the hammock, letting the rock’s feeble gravity pull her down, and tried to sleep.
Still on Earth, Peridot built up a new routine.
It wasn't anything resembling the schedule she'd had on Homeworld, where straying from the set timetable could cause chaos, or at the very least, a stern conversation from one's supervisor. Here Peridot made her own plans and had a general schedule, but it didn't matter if Meep Morp Production was delayed a few hours to hang out with Amethyst, or she elected to help on a mission instead of continuing in her search to find a new favourite show. It was... satisfying, discovering new ways to spend her time.
There were a few things she made sure to do regularly, without fail. She sent reports to Lapis every seven days, in accordance to the human calendar. Pumpkin had to be entertained daily in order to receive emotional nourishment. And of course, the garden had to be maintained constantly, or else the plants would wilt.
Peridot was in the middle of such maintenance, when she noticed something. She was making her way through the neat, orderly rows of daffodils, watering can floating behind her, when she nearly bumped into it.
She screamed and jumped in surprised, almost swatting it on instinct-
– and stopped. It wasn’t a threat. It was just a bubble, floating in the air.
It was one of her bubbles.
That did not seem possible. But it was green, and peering inside, she found the very Log Date report she had written for Lapis just that morning.
Peridot scowled. She reached out, holding the image of the barn in her head, and tapped the bubble once.
It vanished momentarily, only to reappear, a little to the left.
Peridot growled, and tried again, and again. Each time, the bubble came right back to where she was standing.
But that wasn’t possible. Her bubbles went to the Barn, not to– not to her garden.
(’Where’d it go?” Peridot had once asked, when she'd bubbled her very first gem.
And Steven had said, “Home.”)
Guilt shot through her.
No! No no no no no! It couldn’t come here! Lapis needed those letters! Needed to know how Pumpkin was doing! How she was doing! Peridot couldn't just abandon her!
And then she stopped, something slower and deeper pushing that guilt down, down, down.
Interesting, some detached, clinical part of Peridot thought. Most human descriptions of anger in narratives associate the emotion with heat. Burning, fire and flames.
Those descriptions are inaccurate. This feels cold.
Peridot's bubbles were coming here now. No way of changing it. If that was how it was, that was how it was. No point in trying to change it, anymore than trying to change a planet’s gravity.
Besides, it wasn’t as if those letters had to mean much to Lapis anyway. If they did, she would have returned months ago.
Peridot gently pushed the bubble underneath the flowers’ heads, where their petals and leaves would protect it from the Earth’s elements. Then she picked up the metallic watering can she had dropped, and carried on. She needed to finish in time for the 'sleepover' with Steven and Connie that evening.
Lapis Lazuli laid on her hammock, and waited.